2 guys shaking hands with a sunflower field behind them
Tidal bores of panic tempered by enjoyment keep hitting a married couple as they drive their elegantly built Italian vehicle from Milan, Italy, down to the town of Montalcino in Tuscany. “What could be the emergency situation?” questioned the other half as they were called down to Montalcino with an immediate message. “Possibly … no, it couldn’t be possible … could it be possible?” the husband said. They had already been living an incredibly adventurous life, gambling whatever on their enthusiasms and love for each other, however they could possibly be given an offer, one that they could never decline, that would provide more obligation than they might have pictured. Would it wind up ruining the terrific life they have already developed? Or would it bring more happiness and enjoyment into the fantastical journey they were currently taking together?
Couple driving down the roadway
They were a combined couple in regards to their origins of birth as Maria Gemma was an Italian-American raised in the U.S. and Neil Empson was a New Zealander who wanted classic automobiles, yet their souls were cut from the very same cloth as after their first marital relationships didn’t work out, they found each other and within 11 days of their very first date they were married. Maria had spent a lot of time in Italy and wished to live there which suited Neil as he figured he could bring back the classic cars, a long-time enthusiasm, and sell them to purchasers around Europe. As they gladly struggled, living in a tiny closet of an apartment or condo in Milan, dribs and drabs of money would can be found in when Neil might sell a vehicle. Ultimately, they wound up importing wines into the U.S. as their love for food, red wine and the Italian individuals would position them on that path.
The fog rolling into Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
In 1972, it was a substantial gamble back when they started in the red wine import organization, not to mention the Italian red wine import organization, yet it didn’t matter if it would end in financial ruin for them as the close relationships they made with Italian white wine producers was all that mattered– and hence Empson Selections was born. There wasn’t yet a recognized red wine drinking culture in the U.S., and numerous parts of Italy were still recovering from the deep financial depression generally brought on by WWI and WWII. As ludicrous as it sounds today, some owners of Tuscan red wine estates were giving them away for virtually nothing throughout the 1970s and the early 1980s.
Therefore this couple, filled with the dynamic energy of being provided a 2nd possibility at life, after staying in business for almost a years, had gotten a fax from the owner of Costanti, a Brunello di Montalcino wine manufacturer whom they had actually been working with because almost the really beginning, stating that it was crucial that they both come down to Costanti as soon as possible.
The next morning, they drove through fields of sunflowers as the sun began to increase and the popular Montalcino fog began to gradually encompass their cars and truck making the entire experience appear like a dream; they lastly found themselves driving up to the Costanti estate where they discovered the owner, Emilio Costanti, an older male who was a medical physician by trade who never had any kids, standing by a young man. Quickly they would discover the urgent news– Emilio was leaving his estate to his grand-nephew Andrea, and he would take charge after he ended up college in a couple of years.
Costanti and Fuligni Wine Estates Maria and Neil Empson at first developed their import business bringing Italian red wines into the U.S. and eventually Canada with long dinners, shared vacations and drinking wines until the wee hours of the early morning with wine producers who came from multi-generational families. It was not a great living at the time in terms of making a lot of cash, but it was a good life. It is pretty uncommon for any red wine producer to stay that long with the same importer as these days it is common to jump from importer to importer as there are always other business out there that guarantee the moon and stars. Maria and Neil’s child Tara currently runs the company as they had actually decided to retire in their 80s a few years ago, although it is a far more competitive and unsteady red wine world– where faithful wine drinkers have ended up being a rare type, Tara still treasures those youth memories of dropping off to sleep at those long dinners where her moms and dads made relationships for life, and that will always be at the core of Empson, no matter just how much the world changes around them.
Costanti’s famous Casottino Vineyard
Through lots of years, as Empson Selections celebrates their 50th anniversary this year, they have been able to put together among the best portfolios of exceptional, little Italian red wine producers. Costanti is certainly understood among Brunello di Montalcino white wine lovers as one of the excellent producers that constantly makes white wines that illustrate the sophistication, finesse and power of Sangiovese from the heart of Montalcino.
Along with Costanti, Empson imports Fuligni, which is not that far from Costanti, and they are both located where historically there has actually been a concentration of fantastic estates. Costanti and Fuligni are located in the center of the Montalcino designated wine-growing area where the “most complete, many improved and truly the most outstanding Brunello” white wines are made, according to leading Italian red wine specialist and award-winning red wine author Ian D’Agata. Ian likewise discussed the two estates having fantastic websites and that both are “blessed with the very best wine making groups in all of Montalcino”.
Fuligni’s well-known San Giovanni Vineyard
Fuligni’s cellar master, Daniele Zeffirini, noted that the Fuligni and Costanti red wines were “unique” because of where they are located in Montalcino; they have high elevations, varying from 1,000 to 1,500 feet, so that they sit above the fog, avoiding frost and illness along with delight in a mild climate, having the well-known Tuscan galestro (friable rock from their marl-like soil) in their vineyards integrated with a lot of limestone that gives a “minerality, beauty and capability to age” to the red wines, according to Daniele.
Both estates have actually had a long history; Fuligni returning to the 1920s and cellar master Daniele has actually known the Fuligni household considering that he was a child, and Costanti is part of the birth of Brunello di Montalcino with files proving that they were making it in the 1800s, however Andrea Costanti stated that his household was making wine in Montalcino as far back as the 1600s.
Going beyond the Dream Andrea Costanti as a boy Costanti
As Tara Empson assessed the truth that next year would be the 50th anniversary of Empson and Costanti working together, she discussed how her dad always states to keep an eye out for Andrea Costanti and ensure he flourishes. “My dad is so happy with you,” said Tara, with Andrea responding, “Your parents have always been friends, however they were really important to me in making what Costanti is today,” as he discussed how they presented him to his winemaker, Vittorio Fiore, all those years earlier. Vittorio, who is 80 years old now, taught Andrea not only about making white wine however a more profound “philosophy” of the world of wine.
Although on that fateful day, the Empsons did not end up inheriting a winery, they understood that they did inherit the responsibility of ensuring that a young man was successful, and Andrea has actually surpassed what they ever believed was possible.
Costanti, Brunello di Montalcino
Costanti 2019 Costanti, Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tuscany, Italy: 100 %Sangiovese. Andrea Costanti doesn’t like to think about his Rosso as a second white wine to Brunello di Montalcino as it is more about categorizing the Sangiovese, throughout any offered vintage, as being better for a more vibrant red wine that is meant to be taken in quicker. This 2019 has a stony minerality on the nose with red cherry and plum fruit and a touch of cardamom spice with intricate notes of upheaved earth that had a great weight on the taste buds with juicy black and red fruit.
2017 Costanti, Rosso di Montalcino “Vermiglio” DOC, Tuscany, Italy: 100% Sangiovese. “Vermiglio” is Costanti’s informal “Riserva” Rosso di Montalcino therefore it is aged 2 years longer. A stylish Rosso with tips of gravels and a touch of oak with tension on the taste buds with significant acidity, intense cherry with hints of leather and tasty spices on the finish.
2017 Costanti, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy: 100% Sangiovese. 2017 was a very warm vintage and so it is all set to consume now and Andrea states that they have actually discovered how to find balance throughout warmer vintages considering that 2003. They made no Riserva in 2017 because they only make it when they know the red wine will age for several years. The nose has tips of forest floor with dark black cherry fruit and a round, lush body with cherry pie and blackberry protect tastes with sufficient freshness to stabilize it out.
2016 Costanti, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy: 100% Sangiovese. 2016 is considered to be one of the very best vintages for Brunello di Montalcino as there has actually never been a greater balance of elegance and structure for all producers throughout the board. Aromatic nose with baking spice and truffles with remarkable consistency between the ripe fruit and dynamic level of acidity with a long expressive finish of orange blooms and lavender grounded with earthy notes along the breathtakingly long finish.
Fuligni, Brunello di Montalcino
Fuligni 2019 Fuligni” S.J. “Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy: A mix of Sangiovese and Merlot that was first made in 1977 and it is just made in little volumes, 1,500 to 2,000 bottles a year, however it is a charming blend that reveals the lovely collaboration between Sangiovese and Merlot. This 2019 vintage has 70% Sangiovese and 30% Merlot and the nose provides scrumptious fragrances of blueberry jam with dried bay leaf and cherry liqueur on the taste buds with an underlying graphite note.
2017 Fuligni, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy: 100% Sangiovese. Crumbly rock on the nose with intense red and black fruit that had silky tannins and intoxicating mixture of rosemary, dried rose petals and tips of limestone among the fleshy fruit.
2016 Fuligni, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, Italy: 100% Sangiovese. The Riserva is made from Fuligni’s finest vines and cellar master Daniele Zeffirini stated that 2016 is among the greatest vintages too. The enthralling fragrances of increased oil, fresh tree bark and an extreme minerality from simply the nose already make this an outstanding wine with finely etched tannins that caress the taste buds along the stunningly lengthy surface.
2013 Fuligni, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany Italy: 100% Sangiovese. 2013 is considered a “classic” vintage as it has lots of acidity with plenty of structure and fresh fruit tastes. This 2013 Riserva has an intriguing smoldering earth quality that opens with wildflowers and black cherries that has mouthwatering acidity and somewhat firm tannins that offer a good structure that lifts the wine.